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Bodhological Development 2007

Explain the Paramitas of Theravada and Mahayana and clarify its value of fulfillment in order for
the enlightenment of the Buddha.
The term paramita comes from the word parama which means great or highest. Here
when one achieves the greatness of fulfillment that is paramis. On the other hand, paramita means
completed perfection or goes beyond the end. Therefore the Buddhavamsa mentioned paramitas as
the buddhakare dhamme which means Buddhakaraka dhamma.
Performing of Paramita is one of the ways one has to practice long period of time in order
to become a Buddha. They are not only the practices to attain enlightenment but also ethically
valuable for those who follow them. Fulfillment of Paramitas is necessary component for the
enlightenment. It is the conduct of the Bodhisattva in both traditions, Theravada and Mahayana.
There is no Bodhisattva ideal apart from Paramitas. Here I will clarify paramita both in Theravada
and Mahayana.
According to Theravada tradition, there are ten paramitas. These Paramitas have been
explained in the Buddhavamsa and cariyapitaka. The ten paramitas are, dana, sila, nekkhama,
panna, viriya, khandi, sacca, adhitthana, metta, and upekkha.
These paramitas divided into three categories of fulifillment. They are paramitas,
upparamitas and paramatthaparamitas. In this manner, these ten paramitas will be 30 according to
the decrees of the practice accordingly.
In this case, (1) danaparamita give away external possession is danaparamitas, (2) giving
one limps danaupparamita, (3) giving away ones life is danaparamatthaparamita.
In the case of Danaparamita, it is not only give things away but we should be able to give
life, and should be able to give away his wife and children too. Silapaaramita is like Camaramiko
who protected its tail than his life. The Bodhisatta should protect sila. Because Sila is the
foundation for one in order to achieve perfection. This sila is divided into four as follows:
Patimokkasanvara Sila,
Indriyasamvara Sila
Ajiva parisuddhi Sila,
Paccayasannissita Sila
At the same time, in Mahayana there mentions only 6 paramitas as follows: Dana, Sila, Ksanti,
Virya, Dhyana, Prajna and wisdom
These Paramittas are the ethical codes of individual as well as society. When these are put into
practice, it enables one to be ethically noble and attain enlightenment. All these Paramitas should
be practiced together for the attaining of Enlightenment. Therefore they are helpful to the one
(Bodhisattva) wanting to become a Buddha. In the Bodhisattva practice, both these are combined
into one. Thus the 6 paramitas make for the gradual stages in the path of Bodhisattva.
These paramitas are formed by combining the practices meant for clergy and laity. For example,
those who follow the Noble Eight-fold Path strictly proceeded along the three-fold training (Sila,
Samadhi and Prajna). Har Dayal in this context tries to see a gradual growth of the doctrine of
Paramitas out of the three fundamental steps: namely Sila, Samadhi and PaGGA, which one must
follow in order to attain the final goal, Nibbana.
According to Jataka stories, the Mahabodhitsattva had to fulfill Paramitas for about four Asankhaya
and one hundred thousand kalpas in order to become the Buddha.
In summary, Paramitas are essentially significant for anyone and are common to both traditions,
Mahayana and Theravada, they are of great use for one on the way to attain the highest
emancipation free from the bondages.
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